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Eleanor Fleischauer, 90, crocheted to help others; July 9, 1921 -- June 22, 2012

Eleanor Fleischauer was proud of her special talent for crochet, and one of the great pleasures of her life was using that talent to help others.

During her last 25 years, she spent countless hours crocheting blankets that she donated to local nursing homes and to Women & Children's Hospital and making helmet liners that were sent to American soldiers who served in brutally hot weather in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"She could crochet amazingly fast and do it well. She could do it for hours watching TV, without even thinking about it," recalled one of her daughters, Dawn Herbeck. "She loved making things that other people could treasure, and it helped to take her mind off any problems that she was having."

Mrs. Fleischauer, a Town of Tonawanda resident, died in the McCauley Residence after a long illness. She was 90.

She was a founding member and longtime volunteer at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in the Town of Tonawanda.

Born and educated in Shamokin, Pa., the former Eleanor Lees was always proud that during World War II she helped the war effort by working in a shirt factory in Shamokin that made uniform shirts for soldiers.

In 1943, she was riding on a train when she met a young soldier in uniform and offered him a seat next to her. She ended up marrying the soldier, William D. Fleischauer, in 1944, and moved to Tonawanda with him. He died in 1985.

From approximately 1968 until her retirement in 1982, Mrs. Fleischauer worked as a clerk in the old Convenience Food Mart on Somerville Road in the Town of Tonawanda.

In the late 1980s, she decided to use her talents at crochet to help several organizations in the community. Her daughter estimated that she made well over 1,000 blankets for nursing home residents and sick babies from poor families. She enjoyed helping the military by making the helmet liners for soldiers.

"It was something that made her proud," Herbeck said of her late mother. "She would get donations of yarn from people or go to estate sales to pick up yarn for her projects. She made the helmet liners in khaki or camouflage colors. She got all kinds of letters from people in nursing homes, thanking her for the blankets she sent."

She is also survived by another daughter, Bonnie Fleischauer; two sons, William and Dennis; four sisters, Cora Baily, Jane Williams, Dawn Karpiak and Nancy Bamford; and a brother, Thomas Fleischauer.

A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. July 7 in Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 2669 Sheridan Drive, Town of Tonawanda.